We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Not Me Monday

The Not Me Monday traffic has been slow over at the MckMama blog. Please pray for their darling son, Stellan. I will carry on this week with admitting my imperfections that make me the (great) mom that I am.

This week Cate did NOT clearly say "Target" after I asked her if she wanted to go to Target with mommy. I did NOT think it was hilarious and did NOT keep asking her to say "Target" all weekend. I do NOT spend way too much time (and money) at Target.

Cate is NOT getting four molars at once. Our perfect daughter did NOT cry so much from the pain of teething this week that she's had to take Tylenol every night before bed.
She's still so darn cute though. I am NOT still learning my camera and how to take better pictures, so I am NOT still shooting pictures that come out a little more "off" than I would like, like the one above.

And CATE is NOT channeling mustached men when this piece of asparagus (we tried, she ate one piece and played with the rest) got stuck on her upper lip at dinner. Eric and I did NOT crack up laughing at her and only after about 3 minutes of laughing/picture taking did we help a baby out and get it off of her face.
This week is NOT our last week with our small group for our all-church journey. I am NOT sad about it and do NOT hope that we can keep meeting together. That would NOT be the raddest thing ever. I did NOT just use the word "raddest" on my blog.

I am NOT having fun playing around with photo editing on iPhoto. I am NOT quickly becoming a fan of the antiqued look.
I did NOT treat myself to a pedicure this week. I would NEVER think of indulging in something like that, especially when Cate needs PJ's because she's sprouting like a weed.

Nope, NOT me!

~Melody :-)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Of Best Friends and Baby Showers

One of my best friends from college was in town this week on her spring break (she teaches in Arizona). We spent Wednesday afternoon/night hanging out together and finishing up a few more favors for her shower (shown in the previous post). Friday, I took a personal day from work and we had a blast getting pedicures, browsing cute baby boutiques, and eating out. It was wonderfully relaxing. Today was the shower and I have to say it was a smashing success! I only wish Jane lived closer so that I could help her take all of her loot home.
The mommy-to-be looked fabulous!
So did these yummy cookies from the Bon Bonerie.
Baby Collette, with whom I am sure Cate will be best buds when they come to visit, is going to be one well-dressed baby. And her mommy will be able to document it all in the scrapbook that guests at the shower created (everyone made a page so that all Jane has to do is put the pictures in).

And for your Cate-viewing enjoyment, here are a couple of pictures of her enjoying a cookie on the porch with her daddy and Curious George.
And in case I forget to mention in later, we're pretty sure that Cate knows the word "Target." She's said it a few times. I think that's a sign that we go there too often (mostly because it's less than a mile from our house and I always forget something). To our credit, she also knows "daddy" and does a pretty decent "thank you" when prompted.

~Melody :-)

PS...Last night we heard an awesome local band play. Artists and Authors. You should check them out. They just released their first CD and it is great!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Me Monday

It's time for the weekly blog carnival/confessional/sharing my minor imperfections post. Check out more fun over at the MckMama blog.

This week I did NOT decide that a scrambled egg was a perfectly acceptable lunch for Cate.

I did NOT indulge in dessert at The Cheesecake Factory with a good friend.

I have NOT taken almost 1000 pictures with my new camera in the 12 days that I've had it. I did NOT only keep about 100 of those. I have NOT heard it multiple times that the more I shoot, the better I get. I am NOT trolling around online after Cate goes to bed to read more DIY photo advice.

I did NOT ride 45 miles on my bike indoors and then proceed to walk around like I had just gotten off a horse for the rest of the day. I'm tough and can stand that much time spinning my bike inside. I did NOT consider putting some of Cate's diaper rash cream on my bottom because I was so uncomfortable afterwards and didn't have any chamois butter. You should NOT help me raise money for a charity by clicking here.

I did NOT make cute baby shower favors to go with the cute baby shower invites that I made a few weeks ago. I am NOT channeling my inner Martha Stewart on a pretty regular basis now. Oh, and I did NOT totally steal those favor ideas from one of my new favorite blogs.
I have NOT gone back on a Young Adult fiction reading binge. I am NOT currently reading Savvy by Ingrid Law and really enjoying it. And I did NOT almost pee myself when I took my students to the media center last week and discovered that Ann Brashares has a new YA book out. I did NOT immediately check it out and am NOT super excited to read it after I finish Savvy.

Cate did NOT eat sand playing with her new sand and water table. I did NOT strip her down to her diaper outside because she was so sandy and wet after playing, even though it was only 60ish degrees out. I canNOT wait for summer when she can just play in her diaper. Seriously though, the sand and water table is awesome!!
These are NOT my two favorite people in the whole wide world.
We are NOT getting our basement re-waterproofed (the people before us did not do it correctly for a nearly 100 year old house) this week, so everything in our basement is NOT either in the garage or scattered throughout the house right now. My handsome hubby did NOT do all of that moving stuff around on his own this weekend while I played around. You will NOT hear jackhammering noises coming from our home this week . We will NOT have a clean, dry, play area for next winter or rainy days when they are done.

The Santa Barbara tourist industry did NOT send us a great magazine all about their town so we can look up some things to do while we are vacationing this summer. I did NOT start drooling immediately. We are NOT looking into taking our bikes with us because it looks like what we'd pay to check them as baggage is cheaper than actually renting bikes for 4 days when we get there. We are NOT becoming obsessed with cycling in this house.

Play along-- on your own blog, Facebook, or in the comment section. What did you NOT do this past week?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Weekends Go Too Fast

It was beautiful once again this weekend. So we spent our time:

Practicing our walking.
Standing up on our own two feet (she's not holding on to the cart in front of her).
Wearing Tights
Visiting the local coffee shop where they have yummy treats...
...and don't mind if Zoey comes in (they even have yummy doggy treats).
Going to the park up the street.
Taming a dragon at the park.
Crossing a bridge.
Doing puzzles.
Reading books.
Playing with our new sand and water table.
What did you do this weekend?

~Melody :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bag of Tricks

Cate has learned a few new tricks. Eric loves to make animal sounds for her, so we weren't surprised that she learned monkey and elephant before dog or cat. Cate also loves to say "hi" now and greets everyone she meets.

You have to love the spaghetti face too.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day aka: Grandpa with a Stick

It was beautiful and sunny today...perfect for our city's Irish and non-Irish to come out and party despite it being only Tuesday.
Upon getting home from work, Cate was promptly changed into sandals (they finally fit her Em) and shorts.
After dinner, we headed up to check out the Irish festivities at our favorite local Irish pub and eatery. No, we did not brave the crowd of Guinness drinkers. We just saluted them from across the street and enjoyed the music of a U2 cover band.
The funniest part of our walk came as we were passing the community center. Three very eager boys were walking with their grandfather to get ice cream at UDF (we stopped to talk to them...or should we say they stopped to talk to us, specifically our dog, which is the only reason why we know this). When one of the boys stooped down to pick up Zoey, the grandfather began pointing a stick at him and scolding him in Italian (Eric knows his languages). We let them walk ahead of us and the grandfather continued to wave his stick every time the boys seemed out of line. If they got too close to grandpa, they got a whack (with his hand, not the stick). Had Melody been a braver or bolder person, she would have photographed said grandfather with stick, but instead limited her photography today to St. Patrick's Day fun.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's okay to pretend to be Irish...Eric says there are more Irish people in America than there are in Ireland.
~Eric, Melody, and Cate

Monday, March 16, 2009

Feeling the Grass Between Her Toes

My two favorite people in the whole world. Cate was only barefoot because she took her shoes and socks off during our walk.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not Me Monday

Here I go again. Time to confess all of those imperfections that make me who I am. Read more not me's over at the MckMama blog.

I'm NOT writing this post on Sunday night because tomorrow and Tuesday are NOT supposed to be totally gorgeous and I do NOT fully intend to spend as much daylight outside after work as I can and then head to bed.

Cate is NOT getting 3 new teeth right now and handling them like a champ (even if she is a little extra fussy, she's still sleeping at night).

I already blogged about it a few times, so of course you know that I did NOT get a new camera this week. And I have NOT literally taken hundreds of photos as I've played around with it and learned what all it does. And I have NOT decided that only a handful of those photos turned out well. And that's totally NOT okay with me as I'm learning all about using natural light, ISO speed, etc.

Cate did NOT wear another one of my infant dresses to church this morning. It was so NOT another beautiful creation handmade by my grandmother (view other creations by her and worn by me as an infant here and here). I really am not sure why it's so yellow-y in this first picture though.

Cate also did NOT wear a beautiful spring coat and bonnet (also handmade by my grandma and previously worn by me) over her pretty dress. She did NOT get a ton of compliments for that either.
And since she was so girly for church this morning, I did NOT tap into my love of blue and how it brings out her eyes and dress her jeans and a blue shirt for the afternoon. If you didn't know any better you would so NOT think she was a boy. I did NOT make sure to call her by her name about once every minute at the grocery store tonight so that no one would mistakenly ask me "how old is he?".

Besides, blue is my favorite color.
I am NOT going to take a few hundred more pictures of Cate this week.

We did NOT revert back to giving Cate baby food veggies this week because she simply refuses to eat veggies of any kind (cooked, raw, etc.) with her fingers. Veggies are important and she does need to eat them.

My week was pretty boring...and I kind of like it that way: no drama for us.

~Melody :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

More Camera Fun

First of all, for the inquiring minds that want to know, the new camera is a Canon Digital Rebel xSi with 12.2 megapixels. I did a lot of shopping around and reading reviews for literally months before purchasing this one. For the record, the best price was always at Amazon.com.

Anyway, I've been shooting with just the lens it came with as I haven't really had any need for the zoom lens that I also bought. I'm hoping to play with that more this weekend. Anyway, here are some more pictures...straight out of the camera, with no editing and no flash.
After reading some more in my camera instructions and on some blogs online, the three things I have primarily been messing around with on my camera are ISO, aperture, and white balance.
ISO is sensitivity to light and you can control this even on most point and shoot cameras (we have a Kodak Easyshare and it has this feature). The lower the number, the less sensitive to light. So if you're outside on a sunny day, not using a flash, you can take great pictures with a low ISO. By contrast, if you're inside, as I was in the previous post, with not a lot of light, you can use a higher ISO, which is more sensitive to light, and get away with not using a flash (for more natural color). However, the higher the ISO, the granier (or noisier) your picture may turn out when enlarged.
Aperture is how much light your lens lets in. A wide aperture (low number) lets in a lot of light and will blur backgrounds when you take a picture. A higher number will create a smaller opening and help everything in the picture be in focus. That's pretty much all I know about aperture. I don't think there's a lot you can do about this on a point and shoot.
And then there's white balance, which you can also adjust on a point and shoot. I don't know much about this either other than that most cameras have settings for automatic white balance, sunny day, shade, cloudy day, and artificial light. Playing around with the white balance can add more warm tones or cool tones to your picture.

Everything in this post was shot with an ISO of 100, aperture f5.6, and with the white balance on cloudy since it was partly cloudy today. Obviously with no need for a flash. And they have not been edited or enhanced a bit.

And that's about all I've got for you today. Remember, I'm not a pro, don't aspire to be one, and don't aspire to teach photography. But I don't mind sharing what I learn along the way either. A lot of what I learned came from this blog: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What a Difference...

...a new camera makes.

I am not a professional photographer. Not even close. And I don't aspire to be one. But I do enjoy taking pictures.

In college I asked my parents one Christmas for a "real" camera. You know, one with interchangeable lenses and filters and stuff. I later learned that these are called SLR cameras. Santa left me one under the tree that year and I was hooked. Digital cameras were just starting to gain popularity and were really expensive, so I was perfectly happy to snap away with my new camera and get my film developed.

Flash forward several years later and I now have a very active one-year-old. We've had two digital cameras (point and shoots) since we got married and that's what I primarily use when taking pictures of Cate. I love her, but film is expensive to develop and if not all of your shots are going to turn out because your subject keeps moving...well...my habit was getting expensive.

I've wanted a Digital SLR for a couple of years now, but they've never been in our price range. Finally, they have come down enough in price, and we've saved enough money, to get one. And what a difference it makes.
I shot these pictures of Cate today while in our living room.
I didn't use a flash because I was able to play around with the settings on my camera (I'm not a pro, so I can't tell you what they all are).
The first two pictures were not edited. But since we have a new version of iPhoto, I did play around with the above shot, which is my favorite I've taken so far. Again, with no flash.
And since Zoey got groomed today, I had to take a picture of her. This one needed a little adjusting since Zoey kind of blends in with the couch.

More to come as I learn all the new tricks my camera can do.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One Step Closer

I'm pretty sure this speaks for itself...

Our lives at home are going to be changing soon as Cate learns to walk. She is gaining more confidence in her cruising skills every day. This is the fastest she's been able to push her wagon yet. It's a video from my cell phone (unlike our regular camera, the video camera is not always at the ready) since that's what was available.

~Melody :-)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Me Monday

Here I go again. Time to confess all of those imperfections that make me who I am. Read more not me's over at the MckMama blog.

This week is more of a pictorial "Not Me Monday."

Cate did NOT turn 13 months old last week. And she is so NOT starting to look like a toddler as the 12 month size clothes grow ever smaller on her.
And even though we finished up the last of the breastmilk a few weeks ago, I did NOT find a 1 ounce vial hiding in the freezer last night and rather than waste what was once liquid gold, I did NOT thaw it out and mix it with some oatmeal for Cate's bedtime snack last night.

These were NOT waiting for me one night last week when I got home from a long day of teaching and parent/teacher conferences.
I do NOT have the best husband ever who likes to give me flowers for no reason.

This was NOT the view from our front porch on Saturday when it was NOT 78 degrees outside.
And I did NOT bike 34.5 miles on Saturday either.

We have NOT been enjoying the beautiful warm weather by taking as many walks as possible in both the wagon and the stroller.
Today I did NOT do two things I hate doing: let Cate drink a LOT of juice AND watch 15 minutes of TV in her exersaucer so I could get a few cotton-pickin' things done.

I did NOT document either of those things either. Who would self-incriminate like that?
Yeah, and that juice is so NOT in a bottle. We've moved onto sippy cups (except right before bed and apparently this one day of juice).
But dinner got made, things straightened up, and it's time to spend some more time playing on the floor with my juiced-up munchkin.

C'mon...what did you NOT do this week?

~Melody :-)

PS...I did NOT DVR several of U2's appearances on TV last week, buy their new album on the first day it came out, and am NOT making plans to go to one of their concerts in the fall. I'm NOT obsessed with them at all.